As Monday rolls in, people are going back to work, have gotten back home, or are settling into a more normal routine post-Thanksgiving. The celebration with family and friends giving Thanksgiving for all things good, and all things that work together for good to those that love God, was the focus of the last four days. Many posted on Facebook, their blogs, prayer chains, and in emails what they were thankful for. What beautiful expressions of the good that God is.
However, as I sat watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with my children we were pummeled with commercials about Black Friday sales. It was so difficult to really focus on Thanksgiving when you heard the tune, “Black Friday, Black Friday, ……” ringing in your head.
I have to admit that my best friend of twenty three years and I went out that day. She picked me up at 10AM and we planned to just spend the day together. We had not done so in a year. No one was out! We got our shopping done, and even saw a movie together and it was as if it was a regular weekday in the stores. Most of the things advertised were even still available for sale. When I got to the layaway line there was one man in front of me, that is how wonderful our day was.
All I could think about that day was how Black Friday made me think of Good Friday. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter when we remember the death of Jesus Christ. How that day was dark and dismal, but in three days He would be raised and He would give us the gift of life by his death and resurrection.
Here we were buying gifts for others in celebration of Jesus’ birth, but the stories we were hearing at each store from the clerks about the morning were horrible. Then a friend told me about a woman who wanted a game system so badly she sprayed someone with mace so she could get it. She was able to pay for it and leave the store before they caught her. That the lines going around the store were so long that people gave up trying to get in. All because they wanted to buy something that would eventually end up in a landfill.
How did we go from Thanksgiving to Black Friday? Now with the stores opening on Thanksgiving Day how do we preserve the celebration of Thanksgiving for our children?
I think we can do so in several ways, but here are two. The first is to preserve their understanding that we give Thanksgiving everyday. That it is not just a holiday to be celebrated, but an act of worship we choose to perform out of gratefulness. The second is to remind them why Thanksgiving is actually celebrated. I love to tell them to story behind the holiday, and to share Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving with them. It explains it visually so they understand and even shows the clergy in the show.
Another question? What do we tell them about Black Friday?
I believe we need to remind them what Christmas is all about, and that we have the opportunity to give. Another answer to the greed and insanity of Black Friday can be Cyber Monday. There is no room for the kinds of things that happened last Friday when you shop online.
How do you think we can preserve Thanksgiving and thanksgiving? What is your answer to Black Friday?